I joined ASID as a student member during my senior year at The University of Maryland (Go Terps!). Going to class on Maryland’s beautiful campus in ’86 was an exciting time in my life, but little did I know that my early involvement with ASID would blossom into the career I have today.
During my senior year, I entered a local ASID Student Design Competition hosted by the ASID Washington Metro Chapter and guess what? Our university swept the awards by winning all categories. As a finalist, I remember the pride and excitement of accepting an award at the Washington Design Center. For my part, I received a small scholarship but, even more valuable was feeling the confidence and pride of knowing I could compete at my level and be recognized by the leading design organization, ASID. The Society demonstrated to me that students are an important part of our future as an organization and as a profession.
Now, as a leader in a multidisciplined firm, I continue to invest in the next generation of designers. I understand how a little guidance and recognition can boost a student’s self-confidence and have a positive impact on their collegiate experience. Throughout my career, I have hired many design interns including Bailey Ann Newsome, Student ASID of Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina (pictured above). Working as an intern can bolster a student’s confidence; acclimate he or she to the environment and atmosphere of a professional design firm; and most importantly, directly demonstrate the impact design has on the human experience. Beyond confidence, having pride in the positive outcomes resulting from the spaces we create provides great meaning to our work.
As the great musician and producer Quincy Jones said:
"Imagine what a harmonious world it could be if every single person, both young and old, shared a little of what he is good at doing."
As ASID members, it is our responsibility to “pay it forward” and invest time and effort in the next generation of interior designers. They are the future of our profession and our organization.
One of my favorite programs is the ASID Student Portfolio Competition. The student submissions are absolutely incredible! (View last year’s grand prize winner). Not only do the students have a chance to win scholarship funds courtesy of Benjamin Moore, they can also land amazing internships at Gensler, HKS, HOK, Perkins+Will, Studio O+A, or maybe my firm, JDavis, or another top firm. Much like the local design competition did for me, winning the ASID Student Portfolio Competition could provide students with the additional confidence and pride to jump-start their careers.
The ASID Student Portfolio Competition finalists will interview for internship opportunities at SCALE: The ASID National Student Summit. In its third year, SCALE continues to expand, and this year it’s headed to downtown Los Angeles. Students will hear from some of the most reputable and well-respected names in design including my fellow ASID National Board of Directors member Jennifer Kolstad, ASID, Assoc. AIA, director of Interior Architecture, associate principal, and senior vice president at HKS. They’ll tour recently completed interior design projects and connect with professionals in the Learning Lounge. This is the MUST attend event for students and I am looking forward to seeing them there. Learn more about SCALE: The ASID National Student Summit.
Time is precious, but so is the future of our profession. Spending time and providing encouragement to a student is a sound investment that will advance the interior design profession. ASID believes that “Design Impacts Lives,” and I can think of no better way to exemplify that belief than by impacting the lives of the next generation of designers.